One of the benefits of President Barack Obama’s reopening of relations with #Cuba was supposed to be a new tourist industry. Americans would be able to jet down to the island paradise just 90 miles away, untouched by civilization, and be able to buy Cuban cigars and rum to bring back home after a few days of lolling on the beach and exploring the quaint colonial architecture of old Havana. The reality, according to the Miami Herald, has not lived up to its promise. Two airlines, Frontier and Silver, have canceled flights to Cuba citing weak demand and high costs.
Of course, one cannot, strictly speaking, take a vacation in Cuba, thanks to the persistence of the economic embargo. But Americans can get around that stricture by calling the trip a family visit or an educational tour. Even so, once the novelty wore off, few people have the urge to take an airliner to visit what is, even after the normalization of relations, a Communist tyranny.
While Cuba remains a favorite tourist destination for Europeans and Canadians, Americans seem to be shying away from visiting the island. Part of the reason may be that so many better resort facilities exist at other destinations in the Caribbean. Cuba has been trying to jump-start its tourism industry, which was essentially ruined after the Communist revolution in the late 1950s. But the government of Raul Castro, brother of the recently departed Fidel, despite its best efforts to bring about a form of perestroika to the island’s economy, has thus far fallen short. Amenities at Cuban tourist hotels, especially Wi-Fi connections, are still not quite up to snuff.
Also, President Donald Trump looms over Cuba and its tourism industry. On the one hand, Trump is very familiar with how resorts are built and run, having done both when he was in the private sector. He might be inclined to lift more restrictions on #American travel to Cuba in exchange for more economic reforms and a more civilized approach to human rights.
On the other hand, Cuba remains an enemy of the #United States, even decades after the fall of the Soviet Empire. Trump does not make it a habit of appeasing enemies. Cuba will have to reach out to the United States before the current president will respond favorably.